Leah McCourt, Bellator MMA No.1 featherweight contender is throwing her weight behind global aid and development charity Tearfund’s latest appeal in partnership with SPAR, EUROSPAR, ViVO and ViVOXTRA.
The appeal, ‘Make Dreams a Reality this Christmas’, aims to raise money to support people living in extreme poverty around the world and will run until 31 December 2023.
‘I will always be grateful to those who saw and helped me reach my potential. Everyone should have the opportunity to make their dreams a reality – and as a mother, when I hear about parents whose dreams are to feed their children or keep their families safe, I feel compelled to act. That’s why I’m delighted to support the Make Dreams a Reality appeal this Christmas,’ Leah said.
Chris Thompson, Tearfund’s Director in Northern Ireland, added: ‘Recently, the threats of climate, conflict and the cost of living crisis have left already vulnerable people fighting to survive. We see this across the countries in which we work’.
‘That’s why we are so grateful to SPAR, EUROSPAR, ViVO and ViVOXTRA staff and shoppers for their support: we know this has, and will continue to make, a tangible difference in the lives of many of the most vulnerable across the globe.’
Marking the eleventh partnership appeal in aid of Tearfund’s work, the funds raised over the years have positively impacted up to 493,487 individuals living in extreme poverty around the world.
Bronagh Luke from SPAR NI added; ‘Understanding exactly how the money raised over the years has helped those receiving training and resources from Tearfund is a powerful testament to just how important this annual appeal is.
‘I have seen first-hand how funds from our appeals have helped families in Uganda and Rwanda, helping them rebuild their lives post-conflict and in the face of some of the most extreme conditions. I’d like to thank our shoppers in advance for supporting our appeal as we know everyone is feeling the effects of the cost of living crisis, so every penny is so gratefully received.’
Shoppers can be assured that every £1 raised in-store will be matched by the retailers, up to an amount of £300,000. The funds raised through ‘Make Dreams a Reality this Christmas’ will help people like Isaac, who lives in Chad, one of the poorest countries in the world and where one in five children die from malnutrition and disease.
Isaac is a young father of two children. Having children meant he wasn’t able to continue his studies. He struggled to earn enough to provide clothes and schooling for his children. Sometimes he felt so discouraged, he wondered if life was worth living.
But when Tearfund’s local partner delivered training at his church, Isaac learned that he doesn’t have to remain in poverty – his community already has the resources they need. He has been able to make his dreams a reality by learning farming and gardening techniques so he can grow vegetables to feed his family, and sell some of his harvest.
‘I find courage and the joy of living with the income earned from farming. I use it for feeding, school fees, buying medicine and other needs’, Isaac told Tearfund’s partner.
Tearfund’s model has recently been the subject of a global study carried out by State of Life, a UK-based research consultancy, which looked at the positive change that a church in a lower-income country can bring to people’s lives and wellbeing, by working with its community to identify local needs and help people achieve the improvements they would like to see.
The study, which collected 8,000 survey responses in Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, showed that Tearfund’s model is a highly cost-effective way of improving wellbeing: every £1 invested through churches helps the whole community unlock a further £7 of time and resources, which ultimately creates £211 of social value*. This is equivalent to a social return of 1:28.
The study showed that people in communities who engaged with Tearfund’s church training and investment programmes were:
- 62% more likely to invest in assetsg. animals, land, a house or business
- 51% more likely to have the same or higher earnings than last year
- 45% more likely to feel that people would be there for them if they needed help
- 26% less likely to have a member of their family miss school
- 26% less likely to have gone without enough food
‘Make Dreams a Reality this Christmas’ is now live, with donation boxes in SPAR, EUROSPAR, ViVO and ViVOXTRA stores throughout Northern Ireland, running until 31 December 2023.
Shoppers can also donate online and find out more via tearfund.org/dreams.